The thing about Memphis is that it’s pleasingly off-kilter. It’s a great big whack job of a city. The anti-Atlanta. You go there, and you can’t believe the things people will say, the way they think, the wobbling orbits of their lives. There’s an essential otherness.
Americans have a profound longing for heroes – now perhaps more than ever. We need our explorers, our sports icons, our Medal of Freedom winners, our Nobel laureates. We need our Greatest Generation warriors, our ‘Sully’ Sullenbergers, our Neil Armstrongs. On some level, we still subscribe to the myth of the man in the white hat.
Harriet Washington, in ‘Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present,’ documents the smallpox experiments Thomas Jefferson performed on his Monticello slaves. In fact, much of what we now think of as public health emerged from the slave system.
‘Blowback,’ as many ‘Nation’ readers are aware, was a term introduced into popular circulation by the late political scientist Chalmers Johnson, an old Cold Warrior turned dissident.
By June 1974, Treasury Secretary George Shultz was already suggesting that rising oil prices could result in a ‘highly advantageous mutual bargain’ between the United States and petroleum-producing countries in the Middle East.
I am definitely a Type A personality, always rushing around, trying to do too much, not good at just lying on the beach. But I’m so thankful for everything I have: wonderfully supportive parents and sisters, the best husband in the world, terrific students I love teaching and hanging out with, and above all, my two amazing daughters.
Is Donald Trump a fascist? It’s an interesting question that has generated insightful commentary over the past few months, with the best answers situating Trumpian illiberalism within America’s long history of racial oppression, slavery, Jim Crow apartheid, and the ongoing backlash to the loss of white privilege.
I’ve sort of been an anthropologist of modern America, in a non-academic way. Whether it’s Marines or Tupperware salesladies, high end audiophiles or bike couriers, I’m fascinated by the hallmarks of the American tribe.
The most successful hyperpowers are the ones where there was actual intermixing. Tang dynasty China was China’s golden age, and contrary to what I was told when I was growing up, Tang China was founded by a man who by today’s standards was no more than half Chinese. It was a mixed-blood dynasty that pulled in ‘barbarians’ from the steppe.
I’m not a Man U fan at all, but I can’t get enough of Rooney. What a joy to watch!